There have been times in life when I was called a Holy roller because I lived my faith in front of others. In high school, I did not go out to drink like some. My mom made sure I was where I said I would be and was home promptly at 10:00 in the evening. She would wait for me in the recliner until I walked through the door. Then, she sat with me on the bed as I told her about my evening.
My parents raised us in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We were a family known for our faith.
Each time I would hear, “Holy roller”, the words would sting. I would cringe and back off talking about my life with Christ. To me the phrase described someone who was living their faith in a way that showed the need for others to give them acolades and approval. Those were people who wanted other to see and comment about what a “good” person they were.
Because of the name-calling, I placed my cross necklace in my jewelry box along with anything that would identify me as a Christian. It stayed there for many years.
In my late teens and early twenties,I didn’t want to appear as a someone who was too holy to have a good time. Also, by wearing the cross when I was “having a good time”, I felt like I brought shame to Christ and the church.
With strict discipline, I was taught to keep my behavior above reproach. I should not allow my behavior to cause anyone to think it was okay to be a part of the world.
So I lived a double life.
I was still a good person mostly. I didn’t gossip…much. I didn’t lie…unless it was necessary, I certainly did not cheat on test…except once. See, I was pretty good!
The only rolling I did that I thought might be bad was to roll the windows down, turn the music up, and ride down the road listening to Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top, The Eagles, and The Doobie Brothers. Those were not Christian songs, but I was having fun!
With speakers blasting, I sang like I was in the band! Hair brush microphone in one hand and steering wheel in the other.
At night, I would listen to worship with Amy Grant and read my New Living Translation Bible.
The one that gave meaning and life to God’s Word for the first time. I loved His Word, but I also loved the approval of people. If they approved of me, then being hurt by them seemed less likely. Protecting myself still seemed to be my responsibility.
The truth is, I was a hot mess of contradictions deep inside my heart. To try and please both God and people caused me to feel pulled at the seams.
A holy mess of contradictions and broken places, wild at heart and prone to wander right into a heartbreak – time and time again.
Wound upon wound. Trying to make friends with a world that bites, wounded by those who had been wounded, and wounded by my own choices. All because I wanted to be accepted by the world.
How many nights did I cry as I read my Living Bible, asking God how I could be all that He was.
How could I live as Christ and die to me? It seemed impossible. As soon as I got one part right, I would fall into pride – an characteristic of a Holy roller – the very thing I was trying to avoid.
Maybe I was more of a holy roller than I realized, wanting to be good and liked and admired – to receive the approval of others.
To live without caring what the world said about you seemed more of a challenge than I had the wherewithal to be successful.
How could I have a life that did not flinch when the words of others came stinging like a nest of angry wasps?
God knew the answer. He slowly began to show me in His Word.
What God wanted from me then, and each day of my life, is to choose to allow him to have access to all of me – My fears, my need to please, my need for approval, my need to fit in.
When He came into my heart at age eight, He planted His seed of love, that would grow more and more each day as I surrendered to Him.
The only way to have that kind of surrender is to desire Him more than the world. Perfect love casts out the fear of rejection, or concern that He is not with us. Trusting God to care for every area of our life takes believing we are loved, even if we have seasons of pruning, storms and loss.
“Have we come to the point where God can withdraw His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected?” ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 23.
Once I surrendered, the words of others, the disappointments in life, and concerns of this world, the Idols of self-preservation and self-promoting did not affect me as strongly. I still felt the sting, but it could no longer tear me apart.
My goal is to respond to the world as one who is dead to the sin of seeking the good opinion of others, and alive to Christ. I would trust Him in the fear and failures, I would trust Him, even when it felt like He was killing me, and watch Him grow me into the image of Christ a little more each day.
The truth is, I am wholly in love with God’s Word (and always have been). But, the only one who is truly HOLY, is God in Christ.
Nowadays, you will rarely see me without my cross necklace. No matter what I’m called by people, God’s Word trumps it all with, “She’s Mine.”
“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4, New Living Translation.)
Linking up with Jennifer Lee’s blog today.
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